The process of buying a property in Halkidiki is exactly same for someone from abroad as it is for a Greek person. You start by finding yourself a Halkidiki real estate agent working from an office in the area where you are interested in buying. We suggest this because they know the area really well and are in the best position to advise you on which part of the peninsula is most suitable for your individual needs. Arguably, a locally based agent is better acquainted with the actual property in Halkidiki too, so can provide more detailed information if you have any questions about a listing you spot online. You are also likely to find that a local agent is more readily available to meet at their office and show properties because the time and distance for them to travel is less.
Once you have found a property in Halkidiki and made an agreement with the seller to buy you will need to get a notary and lawyer to handle the legal work of transferring the ownership of the property to you. Choosing which notary and lawyer to hire is usually the buyers' decision but if you are not familiar with any in the area we can suggest a Halkidiki real estate lawyer and notary who we recommend from experience.
When you are buying a property in Halkidiki the absolute first step of the purchasing process even before you approach a notary, is to get a lawyer do a title search at the local registry office to check for any mortgages, debts or other “liens” (legal claims) on the property. Normally this is carried out at the very beginning of the sale (before you put down a deposit) and again just prior to the final contract to double check that nothing has changed in the meantime.
Once your lawyer has confirmed with you that it is safe for you to proceed, you will usually be asked to give a deposit, which is normally around 10% of the asking price but the amount will depend on your agreement with the seller, and often a lesser sum is acceptable. This is standard practice in Greece to assure the seller that your intention to purchase is genuine because in order to sell they will have some expenses to obtain documents that they must to present to the notary.
When the notary has received all of the documents they require from the seller and has checked that everything is in order they will schedule an appointment at their office convenient for everyone involved for the the final contract to be signed. The notary reads out the contract in Greek so as a foreign buyer it may be necessary for you, if you don't understand, to have someone present to verbally interpret into a language of your choice. This person will also sign the contract.
As a buyer, the essential documents you need to have with you to be able to sign the contract are:
• Passport or ID card
• A Greek tax number
How do I apply for a Greek Tax Number?
When buying a property in Halkidiki the tax authority office issuing Greek tax numbers to foreign nationals is located in Poligiros, which is considered the capital of the region and where most of the “headquarters” are located. Since 2020 the office where you go to apply for a tax number is now working by appointment only, which is one of the few positive results of the pandemic so no more unexpected queues, delays or overcrowded offices and the whole process takes about half an hour! It is preferable, but not absolutely essential to call a week in advance to make an appointment, which are available between 08:00 and 14:00 Monday to Friday except for bank holidays.
You need to take the following along with you to the appointment:
• Original passport or ID card
• A photocopy of your passport or ID card
• A Greek citizen (in person!) who permanently resides in Halkidiki to act as your “tax representative” should the tax office ever need to contact and discuss anything with you
• A photocopy of the passport or ID card of your Greek tax representative
• Completed form Δ210 (Previously Μ1 and M7 now combined), which can be downloaded and printed out from various websites on the internet
• An official written statement from the applicant ΥΠΕΥΘΥΝΗ ΔΗΛΩΣΗ, declaring who will act as their Greek tax representative and also from the Greek tax representative, acknowledging that they will assume this responsibility
Naturally all the paperwork is in Greek so this is why a Greek person is required. One of the services we provide for our clients who need to obtain a Greek tax number is to assist them with this task and as such we would schedule an appointment for you, meet with you prior to the appointment to help you with preparing all the documentation as well as accompanying you on the day and taking on the role as your tax representative.
The Final Contract – how do you pay for a property in Halkidiki?
On the day of the completion of the sale the most straightforward and common way to pay for a property in Halkidiki is with a bank cheque, issued by a Greek bank, which you sign (to validate it) at the time of the final contract. It is also easier to pay by a Greek bank cheque when paying the property transaction tax. In any case, if you are going to own a property in Halkidiki then it also makes sense for you to open a Greek bank account so that you can pay your household bills in the future automatically.
What is the procedure for opening a Greek bank account?
As a non-resident it is possible to open a bank account in Greece but you must be physically present at the bank in order to sign the paperwork. You cannot (presently) apply online or get someone to do this by a power of attorney.
The minimum requirements to open a bank account in Greece are as follows:
• Photocopy of Passport/ID card
• Proof of permanent residence – address on recent utility bill or property tax receipt from local authority
• Proof of income/employment – copy of latest pay slip, professional identity card, certificate of profession, letter from employer
• A Greek contact telephone number – recent telephone bill, confirmation letter from telephone company
• Greek Tax number
• Previous years' tax statement from country of residence
All of these documents must be translated into either Greek or English language and certified.
In order to be able to provide the bank with a Greek contact telephone number we suggest you to buy a local prepaid sim card, which is also actually necessary if you want to set up internet banking when you open the account so that in the future you can pay bills remotely for example the property tax that doesn't have the possibility to pay by standing order. It's also very useful to have a Greek sim card for those who don't get free EU roaming from their home country. The primary mobile phone operators are Cosmote, Wind and Vodafone, which you can find located in all the main towns and it is easy, fast and cheap, all that you need to take with you is a passport or ID card. Presently it costs 10-12EUR depending on which network and to keep the number active you must remember to top up the credit every year. Once you register the number in your name you can ask the network provider to issue you a document as a confirmation for the bank.
We hope that you have found this information interesting and useful. It is also important to know that from the day you become the legal owner of a property in Halkidiki, you have a deadline of one calendar month to declare your acquisition to an accountant. We can introduce you to a local accountant as necessary. You must also visit the local water and electricity authorities to show them that you are the new owner of a property in Halkidiki so that the subsequent bills are issued in your name. As an agency we are happy to help our clients with all these various aspects of buying and owning a property in Halkidiki. Will will also keep you informed from time to time of any changes or new regulation affecting the owners of property in Halkidiki. Please let us know if you want us to explain any of these points further.